Author Archives: jachrispens

Bipersonal Computer

I finally got my act together and cleaned up my workspace enough to a take a picture of the current setup: There is nothing extraordinary about it, especially when considering the history of computing. However, it is an atypical configuration.

Benford’s Law – the World is Often Logarithmic?

This post was made possible by Kevin L., who reminded me of the awesomeness of Radio Lab during last Tuesday’s midday bicycle spin. For those not familiar, Radio Lab is an hour long science show. ‘Science show’ doesn’t really do it justice though; the shows are highly accessible, interesting, and always well done. While on […]

Old Skool Computing

A couple of training videos describing the components of analog (mechanical) computers used on naval ships in the ’50s: Part 1 Part 2 Amazing how far computing has come in 60 years.

New (To Me) Languages – Haskell

In the movie Hoosiers, if I remember correctly, the basketball coach holds up a basketball and declares that it represents all there is know about basketball. He then makes a dot on it with a marker and declares that the dot to represents how much his team knows about basketball. Cut the dot in half, […]

New (To Me) Languages – Prolog

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted; part of the reason is that I’ve devoted some of my off hours to becoming more familiar with a couple of programming languages, Prolog and Haskell. However, the most of the reason is laziness. I did start a post on what is wrong with the infrastructure of the web […]

Reverse Engineering for Fun and… Fun

I’ve started a couple of rant posts in the last month… unfortunately I wasn’t able to sustain the anger long enough to finish them. So, while waiting to get worked up again, proggit came through with a link to crackmes.de. Crackmes.de is dedicated to hosting software written by other ‘reversers’ that is completely legal to […]

How the Xbox was hacked

A quite detailed and seemingly comprehensive account of how the Xbox (not the Xbox 360) security was hacked: http://www.xbox-linux.org/wiki/17_Mistakes_Microsoft_Made_in_the_Xbox_Security_System#Introduction The exploitation of the legacy x86 ‘features’ is a particularly big facepalm. In addition to not being aware of their security implications, why are those sorts of things still in the x86 architecture?

File associations – Linux has ’em. Who knew?

Just about any user of Windows is aware (at some level) of its file associations that allow ‘execution’ of data files – that is, the associated application is run which then loads the ‘executed’ data file. This functionality appears to be implemented at a fairly low level; not only can you double click on a […]

Forwards compatible, sort of

Whilst fooling around with Dr. Brain last week, I stumbled across an somewhat interesting piece of forwards compatibility. According to here, the typical Windows program can be executed ‘successfully’ under MS-DOS (yeah, yeah, citation needed). Apparently, Windows programs really contain two executable formats, one wrapped in another. The outer most format is the ‘MZ’ executable […]

The Lost Mind of Dr. Brain

Some (indirect) good times with an old game.